Long-term posttraumatic effects of intraoperative awareness in children Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: The consequences of intraoperative awareness in children have received little empirical attention to date. Previous studies suggest that children are less likely to be distressed than adults in the short term, but long-term consequences have only been studied retrospectively. AIM: The aim of this study was to investigate posttraumatic stress symptoms in children who have experienced an awareness event. METHODS: In this prospective cohort study, children who were found to have experienced intraoperative awareness in our previous study were approached for assessment for posttraumatic stress symptoms using the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (Alternate version; TSCC-A). RESULTS: Seven children were aware in the original cohort. Only four families agreed to participate and were interviewed via telephone. Only one child recalled the awareness event. No children exhibited trauma related symptoms in the clinically significant range. CONCLUSIONS: Although no children had clinically significant symptoms, the small numbers and failure to follow-up all children limit any conclusions with respect to true incidence of posttraumatic stress disorder in children who have had an awareness event.

publication date

  • December 2009